Hofstra wins ugly defensive struggle over Manhattan

While Hofstra’s offense floundered in Wednesday night’s men’s college basketball game against Manhattan with 35% shooting, the defense shined holding the Jaspers to 21% from the floor. This stingy defensive effort that included holding Manhattan 13:29 in the first half without a field goal helped Hofstra pull off a gritty 44-39 win over its local New York City area non conference rival before a spirited crowd of 3,076 at the Mack Sports Complex.

After Manhattan went up 5-0 1:36 into the game, Hofstra went on a 19-0 run with the Jaspers missing 22 straight shots during its scoring drought that propelled the Pride to a lead it would never relinquish. However despite dominating defensively, Hofstra only led 23-18 at halftime and was never able to pull away in the second half leaving Pride head coach Tom Pecora not satisfied with his team’s overall performance in the post game press conference.

“We looked like a team that wasn’t focused,” said Pecora. “I thought our shot selection was poor.”

“We felt fortunate to only be down by five at the half,” said Manhattan head coach Barry Rohrsen referring to his team giving up a 19-0 run early in the game.

With Hofstra finding a way to win despite not playing well offensively, the Pride finds itself 6-3 heading into the home stretch of the non-conference portion of the schedule with its next game at home versus New Hampshire this Saturday at 4 p.m. 

Nobody for the Pride exploded on offense with freshman Halil Kanacevic the only player in double figures while also recording his second career double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds). The Pride’s sensational junior guard Charles Jenkins was limited to nine points on 3-14 shooting.

Factors that kept Manhattan (5-4) in the game despite converting only 12 field goals was Hofstra committing 19 turnovers and only shooting 6-16 from the free throw line. Pecora was also frustrated by the Pride only getting 52 shots from the floor when his goal is for at least 70 every game, which he attributed to not taking advantage of some potential transition opportunities off defensive rebounds.  “We weren’t playing with the tempo I wanted to play at,” he said. 

Wednesday night’s game was the first time Hofstra held an opponent under 40 points since a 48-34 win over Rider on Jan. 18, 1989. It was also the first time Hofstra had won a game when scoring less than 50 points since a 48-46 triumpth over Yale in 1992. 

“Going into any game if you tell us that we're going to hold an opponent to 44 points you’ll probably take that,” said Rohrsen of the his team’s inability to take advantage of a poor shooting night from Hofstra. “We just didn’t shoot well from anywhere.”

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